This story has been updated to reflect additional information.
Lacey Township School District in central New Jersey reportedly suspended two high school students after a photo posted to social media showed them at a gun range outside of school hours.
The district has denied it disciplined the students, but a friend said the two received five days of in-school suspension, and one of the students also posted about the punishment on Facebook, NJ.com reported.
The Lacey School District also reportedly changed its policy after it was threatened with a lawsuit from a gun advocacy group. The policy had prohibited students from legally handling a gun off school campus.
Attorney Daniel Schmutter with the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs had said a lawsuit might be pending since the pictures were non-threatening and not alarming in any way, nor was it illegal. The two students were simply at a gun range after school hours.
Schmutter indicated in a letter to Lacey Township School District that suspending the two students for posting photos off school grounds and unrelated to school activities was a “very serious violation” of the their rights, according to Patch.com. The students were allegedly received a five-day in-school suspension.
The school district denied the claims that it suspended the two students.
“Information posted on social media is incorrect,” Lacey Superintendent Craig Wigley said, Fox News reported. But officials did not elaborate on why the posts were “incorrect.”
The controversy brought the attention of a New Jersey gun advocacy group that sent the school district a cease and desist letter and threatened with a lawsuit if it does not overturn the suspension of the students and change the policies regarding the Second Amendment.
After the incident, the “straight A” students returned to school but were not permitted to go to class, Schmutter said, according to Patch.com.
Lacey Township School District follows the Safe Schools Initiative and the Zero Tolerance for Guns Act. Their own policy enforces zero-tolerance policy for any students who have weapons in their possession, on or off school grounds, according to Patch.com.
“These are top-quality kids. It’s astonishing what they have done to these kids,” Schumuter said.
The students might have faced a possible one-year suspension, according to Schmutter.